In late nineteenth-century Germany, museum friends’ associations and the cultural élite of the industrial centres of Germany supported public art collections, most of which were incorporated into municipal or federal agencies and governed by administrative experts such as Wilhelm von Bode (1845–1929) in Berlin and Gustav Pauli (1866–1938) in Bremen. The majority of German art collectors around 1900 relied not only on the expertise but also on the guidance of these museum directors as ‘public authorities’. This paper will explore how different individual and political preconditions, collecting strategies and forms of art mediation in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century German art collecting in Bremen, Berlin and Weimar affected the interaction between museum directors, commercial agents and individuals of the old and new social élites, motivated by a form of philanthropic social and cultural accountability as well as by the pursuit of an established social position.
Journal Article. 5690 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: Exhibition Catalogues and Specific Collections ; History of Art ; Social and Cultural History
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